The Role And Significance Of Walt Disney In Animation And Society

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Walt Disney created a fun family experience location known as Disneyland and Disneyworld and changed the entertainment industry. He was a pioneer in animation through innovation and impacted people that allowed them to pursue their dreams. He had many achievements such as multiple academy honor awards and created the famous character Mickey Mouse. Walt was a very imaginative person that created many ideas while developing the Disney Company.

Walt Disney Was born on the 5th of December in 1901. According to Whitney Stewart (2009), “He was born in an upstairs bedroom of a two-story cottage on North Tripp Avenue in Chicago, Illinois” (p. 1). Walt’s parents were both very hardworking individuals that cared a lot about their five children. Walt’s Mother was a teacher but soon gave up her profession to raise her children. Walt’s father, Elias Disney, was in the carpentry business and built their two-story cottage house in Chicago during 1892. 13 years later, The Disney family decided that it would be safer and more suitable for them to move to a farm in Marceline, Missouri because the neighborhood began to get rough and not an ideal safe area for their family to grow up in. Walt was excited about the new change and looked forward to the experience. He ended up loving the farmhouse and walked down to main street to see all the stores quite frequently. Walt Loved all the animals and the environment that was on the farm. By the time he was 7 years old, he began school in his small town and started the same time as his 5-year-old sister and wasn’t too happy about that. Walt Always loved entertaining people and acted in many school plays including the peter pan play. Little did he know that peter pan would be one of the most significant and most popular Disney characters of all time.

Walt Developed many new interests and hobbies that he spent many hours a day doing so. When he picked up a pencil or pen, he drew for hours and was clearly very talented at it. One of his neighbor’s, Doc Sherwood, thought he was so good that he asked Walt if he could draw him a picture of his horse. Doc and his wife ended up loving the picture and they praised it. This made Walt feel very proud and boosted his self-confidence substantially which ended up being a good thing. But then, Walt’s Father became sick and could no longer take care of the farm and his mother could not take over cause she did not know how to manage their farm. The only option that they were left with was to sell the house. Walt Was very sad about this choice and the family moved back to Chicago and started his freshman year at Mckinley High School. He took photography, drawing, and art classes that he enjoyed and was very creative in. Not only was he doing school during the day, but he also took night classes and became the cartoonist for his school paper. The night classes he took were at the Chicago Art Institute and they taught him everything he needed to know about art and drawing. When he was 16 years old, he slowly began to lose interest in school and dropped out and tried to join the army but was rejected for being too young. At this point in Walt’s Life, he joined the red cross where he drove an ambulance in France for about a year and then moved back to the united states in 1919. Walt met with another cartoonist know as Ub Iwerks and they created a commercial art company but got into animation later on. They both created cartoons that soon became extremely popular and allowed them to open a studio to produce their work.

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Walt became a very successful entrepreneur as Disney developed to be more popular and he gained many achievements throughout his whole career. He really changed and revolutionized the animation and entertainment industry by providing cartoons and films that were revolutionary and very fascinating to watch. He created many unique characters that the people loved such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Cinderella, and Pluto. Some of these characters were also included in the very first films in animation. Walt was a very successful entrepreneur because Hailey (2017) found that “Walt Disney took risks and introduced a completely different way of entertainment”(p.1).

Walt was so successful overall because of his work ethic and ability to overcome any obstacle in his path. He faced many challenges throughout his life and within his business such as going bankrupt , being a high school dropout, and suffering from multiple business disasters but was still able to overcome his challenges by following his dream and believing in his creativity and imagination that would later create joy for all people. One of his major achievements within the animation industry was that the first film published by Disney, Known as, “Snow White and the seven dwarfs”, was the most successful film of 1939 and generated more than eight million dollars for the Disney Company. Disney ended up being given many academy awards for that film. In 1964, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was very honored that he had the opportunity to have this award. Walt Challenged himself every day to innovate and make the world a better place through the eye of animation and storytelling. Walt would tell the people who worked for him a specific story in a way that allowed them to visualize it better and make the story come to life. This allowed them to have a better perspective with what they needed and wanted to do for this job. Walt was a true leader within the community and the people he worked with and he was a great storyteller. Walt not only gave people the opportunity to work for him and have a great time doing so, but also inspired them to take action and pursue their own dreams. He influenced others and according to Hailey (2017), “During Walt Disney's life, he taught others the importance of their imagination and how if you set your mind to something, you can achieve it. Disney believed not only in himself, but everyone who had the potential of achieving great things”(p.1) He was beyond question, one of the most impactful people within the animation industry and workforce overall which leads to the next point.

Walt had a huge lasting impact that is very important within our history today. He continues to influence modern animated films while setting the standards for animated films and theme parks all around the world because of his creation of Disneyland and Disneyworld. These parks deliver happiness to those who are at these locations and are very popular attractions that people all around the world come to see. He created jobs for thousands of people and was constantly trying to improve everything that happened within the Disney company. For example, According to Brown (2014), “Disney's many innovations included such features as synchronizing sound with animated images and using storyboards, multiplane cameras, and optical printers” (p.1). These features were something that had never been created and were developed and innovated by Disney itself which shows us that he wanted to advance the animation industry as much as possible. He also wanted to help others as much as possible and have people who wanted to do the same thing that he did, have an opportunity to learn how to do so. According to Brian Dakss (2006), “Walt Disney founded the California Institute for the Arts, intended as a school to train artists for motion pictures.” (p.1). This allowed many children to be able to go to school to study this subject more in-depth. He made animation and entertainment more popular and showed people that we are in a world where we have the freedom to do what we want in terms of who we want to become and what we want to do in life which was something that was very inspirational to most people and is another reason why so many people looked up to him.

Some other lessons that he taught the world were to take what you want to do seriously if you are really compassionate at it because that is the only way you will reach success. Walt was in it not for the money, but to do it for others and create an experience that was nonexistent. This really showed when he started opening schools for other people to learn animation and motion pictures so that they would one day be doing animation like Walt. Walt Disney was one of the most influential people in history by changing the animation and entertainment industry to a higher standard that made people all around the world happy during tough times of war and depression.


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  2. Brown, J. (2012). The 5 Great Lessons Walt Disney Taught Us (pp. 1-2). N.p.: 7 years agoon. Retrieved from
  3. Crowley, C. (2011). The Man, the Mission: (p. 1). WordPress. Retrieved from
  4. Gillis, A. M. (2015). Walt Disney: In the End, He Wanted to Change How We Live (HUMANITIES ed., Vol. 36, p. 1). Maria Beirnik. Retrieved from
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  6. Stewart, W. (2009). Who Was Walt Disney? New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap
  7. Walt Disney (2017). San Diego, CA: Hailey Retrieved from
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